SOS! Saving our Sanity


It’s just about this time of year that I start hearing from parents that they are D.O.N.E. with summer.

They’re ready for the structure that the school year brings…they’re ready for letting someone else tire out their children…ready for some down time. Without the kids.

Summer begins by letting us celebrate not making lunches everyday, rejoice in turning off that terribly early alarm clock, delight in taking adventures with our family…and NO HOMEWORK!

And then…we start missing it all. A lot. Just in time for the new year to start! Genius, really.

It’s also during these last few weeks of summer that we seem to have an especially hard time keeping our cool with the kids. A few summers ago I wrote an article about Cooling Tempers in the home stretch of the summer, which is always a good reminder.

But today’s article is about how to design time for yourself that will allow you keep sane. Sanity is even more important than managing anger. Kids will generally choose an angry parent any day over a wild-eyed mother huddled in the corner, rocking back and forth, saying, “But mommy, you said I could have the pony!”

Yes, we’ve all been in that corner. Here’s how to keep ourselves out:  Read More

Fighting Fair

In the fall I wrote an article about the importance of allowing our partner to change our mind, or influence our perspective. In this article I shared briefly about the work of Dr. John Gottman, a well-known specialist in the science of relationships. He lists a series of “principles” that are necessary for relationships to be successful – accepting influence being one of them.

One of the stunning parts of Dr. Gottman’s research is the ability to identify several factors in how a couple fights that allow him to predict how successful a couple will be. He contends, as do many marriage therapists, that HOW you fight is more important that HOW OFTEN you fight.

 Dr. Gottman identifies six “signs” that a couple is at risk for future challenges in their relationship. The first of these signs is what he calls the “Harsh Start-Up.”   Read More

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Saying Goodbye

There are two times of the year that I help parents through hard goodbyes.

The first round is in the fall, as they drop off teary, sad, and scared kids at a new school, or in a new classroom. 

The second is in May, as parents are the ones with tears. We say goodbye to our beloved preschools – leaving the safety of that playground we know so well and those teachers who have loved and guided our children so beautifully.

Or we help our children say goodbye to a beloved elementary teacher, a friend that’s moving away, or just a stellar year that changed them in extraordinary ways.

And then there is the big one. High school graduation.

This May I find myself the one in need of support, as I watch my young daughter leave the halls of her beloved elementary school, walking towards her next big journey in middle school. And, the big one. My son graduated from high school Friday evening.    Read More

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“You’re Hurting my Ears!”

For the past year I’ve been spending a good deal of time reading about gender differences in children…looking for the most current information to my old questions:

 What are scientists learning about the differences between boys’ and girls’ brains?
How many gender-specific traits does a child already posses when they land in our arms that first moment, and how many do they learn from us as parents?
From our culture?

It has been fascinating to “update” my training and learn about the new discoveries out there.  And it has been full of new surprises!

The truth is, we’re learning that gender is a bigger package of traits than we thought. We are shaped and molded by our surroundings in a million ways, but the number of gender-specific physiological and cognitive traits that we’re born with is stunning.

Today I’ll just focus on one….hearing differences….but you’ll hear about more differences in future newsletters.

And it goes without saying, that when speaking about gender differences there will always be exceptions. There are lots of boys and girls out there who don’t fit the mold. But given the extraordinary number of boys and girls that do, it’s worth studying.

Gender Differences in Hearing:    Read More

Going from “only” to “oldest”

Adding a second child to our family is an exciting time. As parents we’re sleep deprived and crazy, but welcoming another sweet being into the world and watching the heart of our family expand makes it all worth it.

 For our first child, welcoming their sibling is a little less exciting. Sure, they’re excited…and very curious….and caught up in the love-fest. But they also aren’t quite sure the cranky parents and crying baby are 100% awesome….nor is the diversion of attention. Many big brothers and sisters have at one point asked, “can we put him back in now?”

Think about it. Before his or her little sibling came along, your first child was EVERYTHING. Everything to you, to the neighbor kid across the street, to the grandparents, to the cashier at the grocery store, to everyone. It seemed the whole world waited for their sweet smile or funny antics. Now that the new-baby-show is in town, even well-meaning friends and grandparents dish out their gushing “oh, isn’t she so sweet” and “look how tiny he is” in heaps to the new baby and give the “my, you’ve gotten so big!” crumbs to the oldest. To which our oldest often thinks, Screw this big brother thing, I want to be little again!”   Read More